Bekommerd oor Redding
Die hulp wat jy nodig het
Hierdie blad in Engels (English), Maklike Engels (Easy English), Duits (German), Portugees , Serbies (Serbian), Noorweës
Die volgende word dringend benodig deur twee tipes Christene:
1. Elkeen wat geteister word deur lasterlike gedagtes.
2. Of diegene wat, ten spyte van herhaalde bevestiging, aanhou om hulle te bekommer dat God hul miskien nie vergewe het nie.
Indien jy in enige van hierdie twee kategorieë val, sal jou vriende, geliefdes, beraders en geestelike adviseurs op die ou einde nie net verontrus, verleë en gefrustreerd wees nie maar sal nie daartoe in staat wees om jou die versekering te gee waarna jy smag nie. Die toestand wat jou affekteer word so selde verstaan dat die mense wat vir jou omgee hierdie webblaaie amper net so nodig as jyself het. Ek beveel sterk aan dat jy nie net self alles wat hier volg lees nie maar dat jy ook hierdie mense aanmoedig om dieselfde te doen (Ek ag dit so belangrik dat ek sover gegaan het om ‘n weergawe van hierdie webblad te skryf juis vir hulle wat vir jou omgee: Tormented by an Over-Sensitive Conscience (English Only). Die hoof verskil is eenvoudig dat ek effens van die detail verminder het in geval hulle besig is of minder gemotifeerd as jy is om alles te lees)
As jy ly onder onbeheerbare lasterlike gedagtes, sal jy dit wat volg beter verstaan nadat jy eers die vorige blad gelees het: When a Christian Can’t Stop Thinking Blasphemous Thoughts (English Only).
Bekommernis dat God hulle nie vergewe het nie en swaarkry oor onkeerbare lasterlike gedagtes mag miskien kenmerkend verskillend klink maar by die wortel van altwee dillemmas is Christene wat geteister word deur die einste ding wat hulle die meeste vrees. En dit blyk dat daar ‘n gemene oorsaak is. Sulke vrees het geen bybelse of geestelike basis nie en tog duur dit voort en in hulle verstand is dit ten volle geregverdig ongeag hoeveel versekering hulle van geestelike adviseurs of selfs van God self ontvang nie.
Aanvanklik by Feeling Condemned? There’s Hope! (English Only) en dan vervolgens vir omtrent sestig webblaaie het ek ‘n belaglike enorme hoeveelheid bybelse en teologiese informasie en getuienisse (insluitend blaaie oor die sogenaamde Unforgivable Sin, Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit – English Only wat bewys dat, maak nie saak hoe brutaal ‘n persoon se sonde of hoe gereeld die sondes herhaal was voor of na redding nie, daar nie ‘n persoon op hierdie planeet is wie nie volkome deur God vergewe kan word deur eenvoudig na Jesus te kyk vir vergifnis nie.
My versameling informasie het tot so ‘n enorme hoeveelheid gegroei omdat, selfs nadat ek myself doelgerig uitgegiet het oor al die bewyse en versigtige redenasies wat ek bymekaargemaak het, mense nog steeds aan my geskryf het, jaar na jaar, getreiter deur die irrasionele vrees dat hulle op een of ander manier die enigste uitsondering is tot God se beloftes of dat hulle dit reggekry het om die een of ander skuiwergat in God se duidelike beloftes te vind. Hulle was klaarblyklik onbewus daarvan dat hulle tot amper gekke afmetings gaan om hul nodelose bekommernisse te probeer regverdig.
Gedrywe deur die inensiteit van hulle angs het ek aangehou om die bewyse te versamel; terwyl ek verwag dat hierdie kosbare mense uiteindelik die krag van rasionele, Bybel - gefundeerde argumente sal aanvaar. Selfs wanneer dit uiteindelik voorgekom het of hulle dit begryp, was hul verligting egter van korte duur. Na net ‘n paar dae sou hulle weer terug wees met nog ‘n ander veronderstelde rede vir hulle aaneenlopende twyfel in hulle saligheid. Uiteindelik, tot my verbasing, was ek gedwing om te erken dat as tien duisend engele tien duisend ure sou spandeer om uitdruklik aan hierdie mense te verklaar dat hulle werklik gered is, hul sekerheid sal begin wegsmelt en hul twyfel sal begin terugkom kort nadat die hemelse besoekers hul opdrag afgehandel het. Hierdie kosbare mense het dit nie so gesien nie. Hulle was seker dat so ‘n teken die saak vir ewig sou bylé, maar my jarelange ondervinding in die berading van letterlik honderde van hulle bewys anders.
Vir jare het ek gebid en gebid, soekend na geestelike insig oor hoe hierdie mense hul deurbraak kan kry. Uiteindelik het ek ontdek dat my benadering nooit sou werk nie omdat hierdie mense, wat anders normaal en intelligent is, ly aan ‘n angs versteuring wat hul vermoë om rasionele argumente te aanvaar, ondermyn. In alle ander areas van hul lewe is hulle heeltemaal rasioneel maar net nie in wat van die grootste emosionele belang vir hulle is nie. Dis glad nie verbasend dat, vir Christene, hierdie probleem gewoonlik sekerheid van saligheid teiken nie, siende dat dit ‘n saak van uiterste belang vir hulle is.
Ek verstaan jou foltering, as jy hieraan ly. God se oplossing is egter baie anders as wat jy sou verwag, en ek en jy sal by kruis doeleindes bly totdat jy anderkant die oppervlakkige kan sien om te verstaan wat eintlik besig is om met jou te gebeur. Ons prioriteite sal so baie verskil soos as jy akkute blindederm ontsteking het en jy niks behalwe pynpille wil hé nie, maar waar my kennis van mediese noodsaaklikhede my verplig om nie op jou pynverligting te fokus nie (so passievol as wat ek dit vir jou begeer) maar op die oorsaak van die pyn en om jou van die kritieke belangrikheid van behoorlike behandeling te oortuig. Net soos wat pynstillers nie die regte antwoord op blindedermontsteking sal wees nie, maar dat dit eintlik jou motivering om die hulp wat jy eintlik nodig het sal verminder, net so sal versekering dat jy goddelike saligheid het of dat ongewensde gedagtes sal ophou, nie die hulp is wat jy werklik nodig het nie, ongeag dat dit vir omtrent alle lyers so blyk te wees.
As aaklige lasterlike gedagtes teen die Heilige Gees byvoorbeeld jou gedagtes vul, word jy deur kragtige martelende versoeking geteister, maar die versoeker hoop om jou so verward te maak dat jy nie eens die versoeking herken nie. Laster is nie die versoeking nie. Die geestelike realm is verbasend onbesorg oor dit. Nie eens ernstige sonde is die ware versoeking nie. Die versoeking is om op te hou glo dat deur Jesus, God jou vergewe, liefhet, en in jou vreugde vind.
Jy mag seker wees dat God se vergifnis net tot ander strek, maar die aaklige versoeking is vir jou om te glo dat jy dit reggekry het om ‘n gebrek in God se liefde en goedheid te ontbloot; dat die krag van Christus se offer nie so nimmereindigend is as wat die Skrif beweer nie; dat jou herhaalde sonde of gruwelike gedagtes die mag het om ‘n leuenaar van God, wie vergifnis aanbied aan almal wat Christus se reiniging aanvaar, te maak; dat jy op een of ander manier ‘n skuiwergat in die Skrif gevind het rakende redding; dat omdat jy skuldig, ongemaklik en vêr van God af voel, jou gevoel geestelik meer betroubaar is as die liefde en integriteit van God asook die krag van die kruis.
Net soos wat ‘n verslaafde na ‘n wonderbaarlike einde aan sy ontrekking simptome smag, jy ook net so na ‘n wonderbaarlike verlossing van jou nood smag. Maar al is jy seker dat wonderbaarlike verlossings uit die temptasie om te twyfel in jou beste belang en in God se beste belang is, is dit nie so nie. Life’s Mysteries (English Only) verduidelik hierdie verrassende waarheid maar as jy dit lees moet jy daarop let dat die geestelike wéreld nie eens laster as die versoeking beskou nie. Die eintlike versoeking is om te val vir die Verleier se kwaadwillige leuens dat as jy ly aan vieslike gedagtes of een of ander afskuwelike ding gedoen het en dan vergifnis soek, God nie langer vreugde in jou sal vind nie. Die versoeking is ‘n daadwerklike poging om jou te truuk sodat jy sal opgee met God omdat jy verkeerdelik vermoed dat die bloed van Christus jou nie langer reinig nie. Dis soos om om die bos gelei te word om te dink dat Fort Knox gevul is met valse goud. Dit is slegs deur hierdie versoeking om te twyfel te beveg dat jy meer soos Christus kan word en kan groei in jou geloof. Wonderbaarlike verlossings is oppervlakkig. Hulle los ons so swak soos wat om orals rond gedra te word sal veroorsaak dat ons spiere sal wegkwyn. Maak nie saak hoe verskriklik en volterend jou beproewing is, en hoe pateties en ongoddelik dit jou laat voel nie, dit kan ‘n wegspringplek word vir geestelike grootsheid.
So seker as wat dit nie maklik is om ‘n Olimpiese kampioen te word nie, so neem dit ‘n enorme poging om ‘n geestelike kampioen te word. Jy wil dalk eenvoudig net die maklike lewe hê en om te kwyn in middelmatigheid, maar jy word ontsaglik bemin deur God. Hy glo in jou en het baie groter planne met jou as wat jy selfs van kan droom. Moet asseblief nie Sy hart breek nie. Die maklike lewe is nie vir jou nie. Jy is gebore om te heers.
Omdat die pad na geestelike grootsheid so lank en hard is, benodig jy al die insig, ondersteuning en aanmoediging wat jy kan kry. Dis waaroor my webblaaie gaan. As ‘n uitdrukking van die ontsaglikheid van God se liefde vir jou, het ek jare en jare toegewy aan folterende gebed, berading, studie, en stoei met woorde; waarin ek my lewe uitgegiet het om jou te voorsien van alles wat ek kon vind om jou te help. Ek is ver van volmaak af, maar terwyl ek my uiterste gedoen het, het ek geen keuse as om die finale stap aan jou oor te laat nie. Dit is nou jou taak om jouself te vergeld deurdat jy hierdie blaaie sal lees in ‘n poging gelykstaande aan ten minste ‘n fraksie van al die gebed en verstandelike inspanning wat ek ingesit het om hierdie ondersteuning vir jou te gee.
Die res van hierdie webblad is in eenvoudige Engels, maar as u op soek is na meer Afrikaanse webblaaie deur dieselfde skrywer, sien, Afrikaanse Vertalings
Because the road to spiritual greatness is long and hard, you need all the understanding and help and encouragement you can get. As a way of showing you God’s immense love for you, I have poured my life into giving you everything I can find to help you. These webpages are like having access to a counselor who is available every moment of every day of every year. To get equal help from a counselor might cost thousands of dollars. I cannot do this personally for the huge number of people who need it, but my writings can. Having done my very best, however, I must leave the last important step to you. It is up to you to do your part by making time to read what I have written for you.
Of course, I cannot replace God. Read prayerfully and don’t stop spending time with God, no matter how much guilt you feel and even if you keep having awful, highly insulting thoughts about God whenever you pray.
The Mysterious Power of Anxiety
Earlier in this series of webpages (starting at Feeling Condemned? There’s Hope!) I explained all the biblical, spiritual and rational reasons why forgiveness is available in full to everyone who puts their faith in Jesus’ forgiveness. No matter how evil a person is or how often they repeat their sins (before or after salvation) and no matter how troubled they are by cursing God in their thoughts, forgiveness is available to all. Later in this series you will find people sharing their stories about how they kept cursing God in their thoughts or still did awful sins after salvation. Their true stories show that there is no exception to the truth that everyone who wants Jesus to forgive them can have it. In addition, I have another series of webpages which begin at How Much does God Love Me? Receiving a Personal Revelation of God’s Love for You. These prove how much personal, never-ending love God has for every person.
Even all of this only helps normal people, however. There are those who need such a different approach that it surprises people when they first hear it. To ease the shock, I will try to gently prepare you. First, you must understand what it means to have an anxiety disorder and that it is common for people to have no idea they are suffering from one.
Anxiety acts as an alarm, and this warns us that something needs urgent attention to avoid a disaster. An alarm set off by a technical failure sounds exactly like the real thing. When it goes off, we rightly panic and feel the need to check whether we are in danger. If we look at the most obvious source of danger and find no reason for concern but the alarm keeps going, we will feel the need to check another possible source, and another, and another. If we finally convince ourselves that we have got rid of every possible source of danger, we will sigh in relief and reset the alarm. If the alarm is faulty, however, it is likely to go off again, and again we will panic and feel the need to check. If this happens day after day, it will get very tiring, but alarms are made to be too annoying to ignore. Each time one goes off we have no way of telling whether this time there is genuine danger.
An anxiety disorder can give a person repeated false alarms, each of which feels just like the real thing and can feel terrifying. Despite doing everything we can think of to put our minds at rest, the anxiety will continue. As if this were not upsetting enough, anxiety feels like a guilty conscience (which makes it seem spiritual). The inner alarm it sets off can drown out our ability to feel peace or joy or God’s presence (which again adds to our worry that something must be spiritually wrong).
Christians going through this will think they are in spiritual danger. They will think they know what could be the cause. Even when they rule out what they first thought was harming them spiritually, the alarm will keep going off (anxiety). They will then think there is another spiritually valid reason for concern.
The human mind goes to great lengths to find non-existent reasons to believe a false alarm is something to worry about. Look at this example:
A man wrote to me very frightened about the awful thoughts he had. “They’re . . . horrible to God. Some of them just flashed into my mind. But others I feel I’m responsible for. I didn’t want them, but I really feel I could have kept them away but didn’t. . . . Some of them involved the very thing the Pharisees said in Matthew 12:24. . . . Evil, horrible ideas. . . . I feel so evil and rotten.”
I showed him some of my webpages that explain he has no rational or biblical reason for concern. He later wrote, “I haven’t been plagued by horrible thoughts for a while now. (Only occasionally.)”
So was he finally filled with relief and even peace? Read the rest of his e-mail: “. . . What if I don’t have those horrible thoughts anymore because the devil knows it’s over for me so he’s moved on to someone else? I feel so alone and so helpless.”
The inner false alarm feels so real. People troubled by it give many excuses for believing their never-ending anxiety rather than believe the reality that God has forgiven them. There is no logical reason for anyone looking for forgiveness through Jesus to doubt that they are cleaned from all sin, but people still doubt their salvation. Here are some examples of the false reasons they come up with:
* They have cursed the Holy Spirit;
* They keep falling into sin;
* They are more sinful than anyone else on the planet;
* They never feel God’s presence;
* They don’t have enough faith;
* They have not regretted their sins enough;
* They have demons;
* They have sold their soul to the devil;
* They are not sincere enough;
* They are not chosen by God;
* They have denied Jesus;
* They cannot pray without cursing God;
* They are angry at God;
* They don’t feel guilty when they sin;
* They have found some Bible verse or preacher that seems to agree with their fears;
* They feel bad whenever they read the Bible or go to church;
* They never feel peace or joy or an inner feeling that they are unforgiven;
* They keep having dreams or supernatural signs that they are not forgiven.
None of these things is a valid reason for doubting your salvation. None of them can separate us from the love of God. None of them – nor anything else you dream up – is unforgivable. If you refused to believe that God is loving enough or powerful enough to forgive you through Jesus, or you didn’t let God rule in your life and you didn’t want God to make you willing to let him rule in your life, you would have a problem until you changed your mind. The moment you change your mind, however, total forgiveness and cleaning from all sin is yours.
Anyone going down this path will keep being troubled by anxiety, no matter what he does. The sooner he realizes it, the sooner he can accept his need for an entirely different approach.
Evil spirits can never touch God’s love for us, nor the infinite power of the cross. All they can do is meddle with our feelings. They hope we will believe our changeable feelings rather than believe in God’s unchangeable love and forgiveness. Anyone who looks to his feelings to confirm that he is right with God leaves himself wide open to doubting his salvation. In fact, until we no longer use our feelings to measure how we are doing spiritually, it will be easy to trick us. What is more, if anyone with an anxiety disorder looks to his feelings to confirm that God accepts him, doubt will always win. No matter how close he is to God, he will keep feeling anxious.
I suggest that you not only pray the following but that you print it out so that you can keep coming back to it:
In the name of Jesus, who shed his blood that I might have eternal life, I reject and refuse to surrender to every evil power that wants me to doubt God’s love and goodness and to doubt the power of Jesus’ sacrifice to forgive all sin. I reject everything that is not of God. I promise to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. I affirm him as my Lord and Savior and declare that the cleaning power of his sacrifice is stronger than any sin I could ever commit.
Anxiety might trouble me, Lord, but I praise you that you are stronger than any unwanted feeling, doubt, worry, guilt, fear or disgusting thoughts. You have promised to work all things together for the good of those who love you. I love you, so this is your promise to me.
I thank you that this anxiety that bothers and confuses me is my opportunity to grow spiritually stronger, just as running uphill is a chance to grow physically stronger. Faith is of much greater value than gold (1 Peter 1:7). Faith can only develop during times when feelings and circumstances clash with what you want me to believe. So I praise you for this opportunity to grow in faith. And I thank you that even though, because of the very nature of the trial, it will feel as if you have left me, you are actually with me every step of the way. Despite everything that might trouble me and confuse me, you have promised you will be with me at all times (Hebrews 13:5). Regardless of what I feel, you remain faithful and true.
You are Truth and you declare over and over such things as:
1 John 1:9 If we say openly that we have done wrong, he is upright and true to his word, giving us forgiveness of sins and making us clean from all evil.
You rightly say that if I claim to have never sinned, I deceive myself and accuse you of lying. In the same way, if I, who have confessed to you my sins and put my faith in Jesus, claim to be unforgiven, I also deceive myself and accuse you of being a liar.
Anxiety feels like a guilty conscience. This tempts me to dishonor you by deciding that just because I feel guilty, you must have lied when you made this promise to clean all who confess their sin to you. Despite these horrible feelings, however, I make you, not my feelings, my God – my spiritual authority and source of truth. Since you, in the above Bible verses, say that I am made clean from all my evil, then I am made clean from all my evil, no matter what I go through and how strongly I might be tempted to think otherwise. So I hang on to your truth, refusing to go against you, no matter what feelings and doubts rage within.
I cannot stop powerful feelings that are the opposite of your truth – even Jesus was tempted – but I can stop accepting those feelings as truth. I repent of thinking that a mere feeling – rather than your Word – indicates spiritual truth. I have sinned by thinking you might not be the God of infinite love and that you must prove your love for me by giving me signs or feelings or assurances. I have insulted you by wanting such “proof,” as if you could lie or be unloving unless what you say is true matches my feelings or what happens to me. From now on, I refuse to believe that any feeling, no matter how strong, persistent and convincing, is a more reliable source of truth than you are.
You give your word that you regard as sinless those who live by faith in you (repeated four times in the Bible – Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). So I choose to live by faith, not feelings. I hereby reject feelings, or anything less than you alone, as a reliable source of spiritual truth.
Your perfect, divine love means that you deeply love even your worst enemies; you long to forgive them more than any human is capable of craving anything. You don’t want to let your beloved Son’s painful sacrifice for the sins of the entire world be wasted. You don’t desire the destruction of anyone (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Ezekiel 33:11).
You tell us to forgive “seventy times seven”. Yet I worry that you will grow tired of forgiving me. The truth is that you love me far, far more than any human has ever loved himself or anyone else. Because of your endless love, you instensely long to keep on forgiving me and to pour out your mercy upon me for all eternity. Since this is your burning desire, sending you to the extreme of the cross, I was wrong to ever beg you to forgive me. You aren’t reluctant to clean me. You are eager to forgive; your reluctance is in giving signs and feelings. If I depend upon signs and feelings, I am at risk of being led astray by the Deceiver who can easily copy and use those things. Your Word says that it is faith, not signs and feelings, that is “the sign that the things not seen are true” (Hebrews 11:1). I repent of playing into the Devil’s hand by seeking such things instead of simply accepting your loving forgiveness. I know that signs and feelings are the Devil’s way to tempt me to take my eyes off the cross and the honesty of your character. He cannot touch spiritual truth but he can mess about with signs and feelings. Faith is our only shield; our one protection against his trickery.
So I will honor you by stubbornly clinging to you, no matter how many doubts, fears, worries, guilt feelings and unwanted thoughts I have.
I will stop wanting signs, feelings or assurances as proof that you love and forgive everyone – including me – who comes to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I reject all attempts to get such things. The honesty of your heart is all that I need. From now on, I will live as you have called all your children to live – by sheer faith, and nothing else.
I expect you will need to keep returning to this prayer. You don’t need to keep praying for salvation, but this commitment not to seek signs, feelings and so on is difficult to keep up when you are troubled by never ending worry. Even well-meaning preachers can sometime confuse us by speaking as if feelings matter.
Anxious people can sometimes think they will at last find peace if they sort out a particular issue. The truth is that an anxiety disorder means the anxiety will continue no matter how many issues are sorted out. Just like a faulty alarm that keeps going off no matter how safe the situation, the anxiety will continue, and it will keep on feeling as if there must be some real reason for concern. The anxious person’s mind will keep trying to find some reason, rather than accept the fact that it is a false alarm.
It usually takes months, or even years, of hard work to convince these dear, anxiety-troubled people that just one of the supposed reasons for concern listed above is not valid. Unless that person reaches the point of learning to live with the false alarm of anxiety and stop treating it as genuine, all that will happen is they will then go to great lengths to find another supposed reason for doubting.
It often takes years of agony before these faithful Christians realize that nothing – with the possible exception of medical help – can ease their anxiety (the source of their doubts, fears and strong guilt feelings). Like a thirsty man chasing after a mirage, these genuine Christians believe there must be some assurance that would finally satisfy them. They will briefly feel better after they are told why their fears have no spiritual, biblical and rational basis, but the worry that they are doomed will soon return. Despite the mirage seeming real, the truth is that this side of heaven there is literally no experience or proof, no matter how spectacular, that could end their fears once and for all. To illustrate, let’s go to extremes.
Suppose hundreds of angels appeared before you and said that Almighty God is pleased with you and will reward you eternally. If you are one of the Christians troubled by an anxiety disorder (and vast numbers are without realizing it), you would be filled with peace and joy. You would finally feel certain you are saved and that you will never doubt again. Within days, however, you would yet again become anxious. You would panic and wonder why you cannot rid yourself of this strong feeling that something is seriously wrong. Rather than accept that the feeling itself must be wrong, you try to make yourself safe by thinking that for as long as the anxiety continues, a real threat might be present. To protect yourself, you try to find any way in which there could be danger despite that supernatural confirmation that all is well. You might think, “What if I imagined or dreamed those angels? What if it were demons deceiving me? What if what the angels said was true at the time but I’ve since sinned and am now lost forever? What if . . ?” Soon, all that relief and certainty you had just a few days ago will have vanished.
How the Natural and the Spiritual Work Together
I am still getting to the part that at first shocks some spiritual people because on the surface, it seems unspiritual. Often the natural and the supernatural work hand in hand. After all, they were both lovingly created by the same infinitely good God, and both realms have been attacked by the same anti-God spiritual forces.
Not only is it not unspiritual to consider the natural, it is often unspiritual to ignore the natural. For instance, James 2:15-16 mocks those who say spiritual things to people in physical need but do nothing to help them in a practical (natural) way. Likewise, Jesus pointed out the importance of caring for people’s physical needs, be it a cup of water, feeding and clothing the poor, welcoming a stranger, caring for the sick or visiting prisoners (Matthew 10:42; 25:34-39). Jesus’ earthly ministry was by no means only focused on people’s spiritual well-being; healing their physical bodies was a high priority with him. To be so “spiritual” as to ignore the physical is to be more “spiritual” than God!
I believe in the Bible’s teaching about demons so much that I am convinced we all regularly deal with demons. For instance, since the devil does not have the divine power to be everywhere at once, it is not usually Satan who personally tempts us but his underlings.
Typically, temptation comes from evil spirits who try to take advantage of any natural weakness they can find in a person. Temptation has a spiritual part, but there is also a natural part. Let’s consider the holy Son of God. When Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, the devil took advantage of a natural chemical imbalance within our Lord. He had not eaten for weeks. It is natural for any hungry human to keep thinking of food. What is more, many of the stones in this wilderness were shaped like the loaves of bread that Jesus had eaten all his life. For perfectly natural reasons, his body wanted food and his mind kept reminding him that those stones looked like bread. Anyone with the ability to turn stones into bread would keep thinking how wonderful it would be to do so. Such thoughts would trouble any person but they were perfectly normal, given the chemical imbalance in Jesus’ body. If anyone worried that having such normal thoughts would make him unforgivable, it would not only go against theology, but such an unfounded fear would turn this unpleasant experience into something terrifying. Having thoughts like this is not sin, however. It would only have been sin had Jesus actually broken the fast.
Similarly, your fears, doubts and unwanted thoughts are as natural and physically-driven as a starving man wanting food. Evil spirits try to deceive people who suffer this natural weakness. They take advantage of human weakness not by tempting these people to do what happens naturally and can’t be avoided (having unwanted doubts, fears and thoughts). Instead, they falsely accuse them for having these natural reactions. They try to seduce these dear people into believing the lie that having this naturally-driven experience cancels out Christ’s power to love, clean and forgive them and grant them the gift of divine approval.
Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness was so intense only because his body was unusually hungry. Likewise, any of us can have a defect in our bodily chemistry that makes us vulnerable to attacks that others simply do not suffer. Those free from such attacks might seem more spiritual or better Christians, but they are not. As unbelievable as it might seem at first, the only difference between the two groups of people is a slight shortage or chemical imbalance within their bodies.
We have already mentioned Scriptures that state, whether it is in the realm of temptation or how we show love, that we should pay attention not just to the spiritual but to the natural. For one last example: 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says that husbands and wives should meet each other’s physical needs so that Satan won’t get the better of them. Even the great apostle Paul, who wasn’t married, insists that it is spiritual and right to think about the physical side of temptation. A spiritual problem can be made less by attending to a physical need if there is a way to do this without going against your morals. Likewise, if a medical, morally neutral way of healing a physical defect was discovered, for example, and made us less at risk to spiritual attack, then we would have a spiritual duty to take it.
The truth that might shock you as much as it once shocked me, is that for very many people who are continually troubled by what feels like a guilty conscience and being unable to feel God’s love, it turns out that the cause is not spiritual at all. These strong feelings that can so easily mistaken for God’s judgment, and can even fill your mind with horrible thoughts about God, are actually due to a mild illness that causes excess anxiety. Even though there is a vast amount of biblical teaching on this website, none of it will lower the deep concerns that trouble people whose anxiety has a medical cause. Just as proof that you are forgiven will not end the pain of a physical illness, neither will proof that you are forgiven end the inner pain of all the doubt, fears and worries brought about by a physical illness – a disorder in your brain chemistry.
I completely understand you thinking I am mad, or at least unspiritual, to suggest such a thing. Let me help you by briefly explaining how I made this discovery. This webpages is about you, not me, but unless you realize how conservative I am and utterly devoted to God, his Word, faith, prayer, deliverance from demons, and on, it will be easy to dismiss what I say.
Even though I am an exceptionally slow writer I am so keen to serve my Lord by helping people tormented by a guilty conscience that you will find on this website over 500 pages I have written specifically for people who find it hard to believe God forgives them. For almost twenty I have devoted enormous amounts of time and agony to this, and for many of those years, if anyone had suggested that there could be a medical component to this spiritual matter, I would have thought they were crazy or ungodly.
Large numbers of people kept e-mailing me seeking help, however, and as I kept fervently praying about this and pouring my life into trying to help these dear, tormented people, I began noticing something peculiar. Anxiety disorders were astoundingly common for those who could not be helped by even large numbers of faith-building Scriptures. Usually they regarded their anxiety disorder as irrelevant to their spiritual concerns, but as I kept conversing with more and more people, the link kept occurring far too often to be mere coincidence. Eventually, I discovered that a huge body of scientific research had already confirmed the link.
Like me, you will probably need a lot of convincing. That’s okay. All I ask is that you keep prayerfully reading.
People troubled by cursing God in their thoughts or by repeated doubts are among the large number of people who are perfectly sane – and some are highly intelligent – except that their mind plays tricks in whatever area of their life is of greatest importance to them. It is not because they have less faith, Bible knowledge, will-power or devotion than other Christians. In fact, they are usually above average on such things. It is just that in this area of life, anxiety is almost literally driving them crazy. Contrary to what seems obvious, their fears are not as a result of spiritual or rational things but come from a chemical imbalance that causes them to suffer from unusual levels of anxiety. Because it has a medical basis, you cannot switch off this anxiety (and the guilt feelings, worries about salvation, not being able to control your thoughts, etc., that come with this) by more Bible reading, trying to worry less, working harder on building up your faith, or whatever. To suffer from medically caused anxiety doesn’t mean you are spiritually lacking any more than suffering a broken leg means you are spiritually lacking.
The unfortunate people who have this physical problem feel guilty, uneasy or worry far more than the average person about at least one thing (and it is usually whatever is most important to them), even when they don’t need to. Regardless of what they do – how much fellowship with God they have, how much faith they have, how much Bible knowledge they have – that awful, troubling feeling keeps eating away at them because the cause is not spiritual or rational but physical. No matter what they believe or think and how much God approves of them and delights in them, that horrible feeling keeps returning. Our brain is designed to treat that feeling – usually called anxiety – as an alarm warning us that something is seriously wrong. The problem is that when a chemical imbalance sets off a false alarm, the very alarm we rely on to alert us to physical or spiritual danger has been triggered. The part of our brain made to respond to the alarm cannot tell the difference between a chemically caused false alarm and the real thing. As the alarm keeps on and on, the brain keeps hunting for some danger that set off the alarm. No matter what reassurances come from God, Scripture, spiritual authorities, past experiences or whatever, the alarm keeps blaring and so we keep worrying that there must be some genuine spiritual danger.
What confuses these people is that their gut feeling (some people call it their conscience and some even confuse it with the voice of God) has been distorted by a condition well known to doctors. Unfortunately, the implications are rarely understood by everyone.
When this troubling false alarm sounds just like the real thing and blares within a person day after day, it is enough to distort anyone’s spiritual view. This devastating feeling keeps nagging away and drowns out what, for anyone who hasn’t experienced it, would be more than enough proof of God’s acceptance. Although this unpleasant and confusing condition troubles a small amount of people, the numbers add up to literally millions of people worldwide.
Lots of people suffer from an anxiety disorder, but haven’t gone to a doctor to find out if they have it. You could be one of them and if it turns out that you are, so many things will not make sense to you. For example:
* If you are troubled by horrible thoughts, the harder you try not to think them, the more you will have them.
* If you long to be sure of God’s forgiveness, the more you seek assurance, the less you will have it.
A full explanation will follow further on and can be understood by most people. Those suffering from this condition, however, will have a much harder time accepting the truth. They find it so different to what feels naturally right. The dreadful feeling that something is wrong keeps on at them nonstop. Everything within someone suffering from great anxiety will scream against the truth. They will keep getting worse instead of better unless they totally change their understanding.
I kept breathing too quickly once. I felt certain I was not getting enough air and so I breathed harder, totally unaware that I was actually suffering from too much air and I needed to breathe less. So it is with those who keep having unwanted thoughts or long to be sure of their salvation. They will only get worse until they learn to do almost the exact opposite of what they feel sure will help. They are so convinced they need to do the opposite of what will actually help that they usually cannot even get what the following webpages are saying. They think they say different things than they do because they want the webpages to agree with what they wrongly think.
Keep going through these webpages over and over. Don’t just read them but prayerfully study them. You need to have constant reminders to balance out the constant anxiety that tricks you into thinking there is a genuine reason to be worried. Regularly pray that your eyes will be opened to the truths in these pages that you are currently blinded to. Even after you grasp the truth, you will often find yourself slipping away and returning to your old mistaken thinking that feels so naturally right. To keep on track you will need to keep returning to these webpages. Thesy might be slightly updated from time to time but print off at least some pages so you can read them even during such things as a power failure.
Don’t forget to ask those who care about you to read the shortened version of this webpage: Tormented by an Over-Sensitive Conscience.
You Need More:
If you want a rest from reading, now is a good time. If you worry that you are in spiritual danger, however, you will need to return to these webpages whenever you can and read more. Note the web address of the next webpage before leaving.
Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017 Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.
Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society
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